Pakistan’s slow batting may lead first Aussie Test to tame draw as rain threat looms

Published: 08:18 PM, 5 Mar, 2022
Pakistan's players walk back to the pavilion at the end of the second day play of the first Test between Pakistan and Australia at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi. AFP
Caption: Pakistan's players walk back to the pavilion at the end of the second day play of the first Test between Pakistan and Australia at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi. AFP
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Azhar Ali and Imamul Haq Saturday scored big tons as Pakistan declared their first innings at 476 for the loss of 4 wickets against Australia on the second day of the first Test played at Pindi Cricket Stadium.

The day completely belonged to Pakistan, however, it almost ensured that the match is heading towards a tame draw as the weather forecast for the last two days of the match is not encouraging. Rain is expected to spoil the Test match. It took Pakistan tam a massive 162 overs to complete 476 runs with a run rate of fewer than 3 runs.

Earlier, Pakistan resumes their first innings at the overnight score of 245 for the loss of 1 wicket. Imam completed stylish 157 runs before he was out LBW off the bowling of Australian skipper Pat Cummins. Azhar, on the other hand, continued to score slowly and kept on eating so many precious deliveries. It took ages for Azhar to complete his ton as he consumed too many balls in the nervous 90s before finally completing a well-deserving century.

Skipper Babar Azam looked very solid and determined and didn’t show any signs of PSL-7 trauma he had to suffer. Babar was leading Karachi Kings for the very first time in the PSL where he flopped badly both as batsman and captain and the majority of people were off the view Babar might struggle badly when he returns to international cricket. But Babar showed his class and started to middle the ball right from the word go.

Earlier, Imam was highly fortunate as he survived a powerful appeal off the bowling of Lyon. Replays clearly showed spikes at the bat but Aussies, who were clearly not looking impressed by the slow batting of Pakistani batsmen, didn’t take a review.

Babar along with Azhar was involved in a 101 runs partnership before he was brilliantly run out by a sharp throw from Labuschagne and Babar was only an inch short of the crease. After Babar, Azhar tried to play a bit fast and while trying to play a reverse sweep, Azhar was caught by Green off the bowling of Labuschagne, but not before posting 185 runs with the help of 15 boundaries and 3 sixes. Babar was looking in no mood of declaring the innings. The weather was foggy after lunch. Had Pakistani batsmen played a bit fast, Pakistan could have easily declared on the stroke of the tea.

Rather than sending Fawad to bat at number 5, it was Rizwan and then Iftikhar. But both failed to accelerate and finally, Babar gave a signal to his batsmen to come back but by then it was too late as already floodlights were fully on after lunch. Due to poor light, Aussies had to face just one over of Sajid Khan and the third day’s play will start 10 minutes earlier than routine.

Enthralling crowd

Now one team had to play really bad cricket to ensure some kind of result, otherwise, the Test will be heading towards a tame draw as rain is expected on the 4th and 5th day. It was once again a highly massive crowd witnessed at the Pindi Stadium. People from all age groups especially, students were present in massive numbers. The most encouraging sign was the presence of a sizable female crowd while families were also there in quite numbers.

Australian journalists, who are here to cover the series, enjoyed the buzzing environment and were very interested in horns, which were used by the youngsters throughout the day. Now it would be a big test for Pakistan as they are short of one bowler and have almost three relatively fresh faces in the shape of Nauman, Sajid and Naseem. Could Pakistan will be able to get 20 Australian wickets? It would likely be seen in the coming days, however, going with five bowlers instead of seven batsmen on a placid pitch might be a good idea.

Tribute to Warne

Meanwhile, tribute was paid to legendry leg spinner Shane Warne at the media centre. Waqar Younis and others along with Rawalpindi Islamabad Sports Journalists Association members paid glowing tributes to the legend while one-minute silence was also observed by the Australian team before the start of the second day's play. Senior sports journalist Abdul Mohi Shah, Shahid Hashmi and others expressed their view and highly lauded Warne’s services to world cricket. Former RISJA president Shakir Abbasi had arranged the ceremony.

Meanwhile, when asked about why the chairman box and VVIP section of the crowd are giving a deserted look considering the fact, the entire stadium is jam-packed, a PCB media person on condition of anonymity informed that the chairman box and VVIP box passes are with high ups.

He didn’t mention the name but it is an open secret that Zakir Khan, who is occupying different roles in PCB and since long been sitting on the passes and only his blue-eyed ones would be given passes. It is hoped that PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja will take notice of the situation and ensure whether it is normal stands or VVIP area, equal and just treatment will be rendered to all and like past Chairman box and other VVIP areas should be open for public as well.

Categories : Sports
Mohsin Ali

Mohsin Ali is a seasoned senior sports journalist, analyst and writer from Islamabad. Mohsin Ali never hesitates to appreciate the new talent as well as point out their flaws. He keeps nudging sports federations and authorities without any concessions to make them realise their incompetence and wrong decisions and always strive for the betterment of Pakistani sports.